Labor and Delivery
Right After the Birth
You may feel excited, tired, and amazed all at the same time after delivery. You may feel a great sense of calm, peace, and relief as you hold, look at, and talk to your baby.
During the first hour after the birth, you can also expect to start breast-feeding, if you plan to breast-feed.
If you breast-feed, don't be surprised if you and your baby have some trouble doing it at first. Breast-feeding is a learned technique, so you will get better at it with practice. You may have a breast-feeding specialist (Reference lactation consultant Opens New Window) in the hospital to help you get started.
For information about getting a good start with breast-feeding and preventing problems, see:
Your first hours of recovery
You may have shaking chills right after delivery. This is a common reaction in the hours after delivery. A warm blanket may help you feel more comfortable.
During the first hours after the birth, your health professional or a nurse will:
- Massage your uterus by rubbing your lower abdomen about every 15 minutes. Later, you will be taught to massage your own uterus. This helps it tighten (contract) and stop bleeding.
- Check your bladder to make sure it isn't full. A full bladder puts pressure on your uterus, which interferes with contractions. You will be asked to try to urinate, which may be hard because of pain and swelling. If you can't urinate, a tube (Reference catheter Opens New Window) can be used to empty your bladder.
- Check your blood pressure frequently.
- Repair the area between your vagina and anus (Reference perineum Opens New Window) if it tore or if you had an incision (Reference episiotomy Opens New Window).
- Remove the small tube in your back if you had Reference epidural anesthesia Opens New Window. If you plan to have a Reference tubal ligation Opens New Window surgery to prevent future pregnancy, the catheter will be left in.
You may also have:
- Certain immunizations:
- Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap). If you need a booster for these immunizations, you may get it soon after you have your baby, before you go home from the hospital.
- Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). If you are not immune to rubella or measles, your doctor may recommend that you have the MMR vaccine after childbirth.
- An Rh immunoglobulin shot (such as RhoGAM). If you have Rh-negative blood, you may get a shot of Rh immunoglobulin after delivery if your newborn is Rh-positive. For more information see the topic Reference Rh Sensitization During Pregnancy.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference November 2, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology